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Before you go too far with your decision to train your Bully to stop barking, it is important that you realize this is his way of communicating with other dogs, you, your family, and the rest of the world. It is his way of alerting you to strangers, emergencies, other dogs that have wandered into the yard, and many other situations.
Of course, this doesn't mean your Pittie should bark incessantly, driving the neighbors crazy. It simply means you need to teach your pup when it's okay for him to bark and when he needs to be quiet.
The task itself is pretty simple, your job is to teach your pup to be quiet on command and at the same time, not to bark just because he feels like it. Again, keep in mind there are many valid reasons for your pup to bark, so you should not try to teach him to never bark. Pay close attention to when your pup is barking to see if he is making noise for a good reason or he just likes the sound of his own voice. Then you can work on training him to be quiet on command and eventually just because he knows that barking does not result in getting a reward.
Before you contemplate teaching your Bully not to bark, he needs to have mastered the four basic commands: 'sit', 'stay', 'come', and 'down'. This helps to establish you as the alpha in his pack, which in turn will make training him that much easier. Beyond a large bag of your pup's favorite treats, be prepared with plenty of time and patience to keep working with your pup.
The Busted Method
Check your stock of puppy treats and if it's low, go ahead and run out to the store and pick up a large bag to use as rewards for when he gets thing right.
So, now he barks
Keep a close eye on your Pittie and when he goes off on a barking jag, pay no attention to him. Keep watching him, sooner or later he is going to get tired of all the noise he is making.
The moment your Bully stops barking, be right there with a treat and plenty of praise. Keep doing this over the course of several weeks. The idea is to teach your pup he gets treats for being quiet and nothing for being noisy.
Add the cue
Now that he has associated stopping barking with getting a treat, it's time to introduce the cue word, "quiet" to the game. The next time he is barking his head off and stops, give him the cue and reward him with a treat.
Keep working it
The rest is all about working on this training and extending the time between when you give the "Quiet" cue and when your pup gets his treat. In time he will figure out his incessant barking will need to come to an end. Be patient, it will happen.
The Tell Me All About It Method
On the leash
Start out by calling your pup over to you and put him on his leash. This lets him know you are the one in charge.
Give the 'speak' command
If you haven't already taught your pup the 'speak' command, teach this first to put barking on cue.
Give your pup the speak command and let him bark for a few seconds and then give him the 'quiet' command.
Time is on your side
It might take your Bully a few seconds to calm down and stop barking, but it will happen and when it does, praise him and give him a treat.
Lock it in
The rest is all about continuing to work with your pup slowly adding more time between when he stops and when you give him a treat. In time, your pup will stop his nuisance barking and resort to barking only when it is necessary.
The Turn Away Method
A pocket full of goodies
Fill your pocket with a nice supply of your pup's favorite treats.
Where does he bark the most?
Observe your pup and determine what tends to set him off on a barking jag. Spend some time playing with him there and just keeping an eye on him.
When he goes off
When your pup goes off on his next barking fit, simply turn away from him. The goal is for your pup to see you are ignoring him.
Oh, you want quiet
It won't take long before your pup figures it out and stops barking. When he does, give him the cue "quiet", praise him, and give him a treat.
Moving right along
The rest is all about working on the training. Add more time between when he stops barking and when you give him the treat. In time, you will no longer need the treats and your pup will spend far more time being quiet instead of trying to wake the dead.
By PB Getz
Published: 03/16/2018, edited: 01/08/2021